After just 2 months off the pill, my pregnancy test came back positive! What? Uh Oh. We were not expecting that to happen so fast but a trip to the doctor a few weeks later confirmed we were definitely pregnant. Once the panic subsided, we quickly started making plans. We spoke about how we’d convert the second bedroom, where we would have the bris (circumcision) if it was a boy, and what Justin would do if it was a girl (he couldn’t comprehend that it’s a 50/50 chance). We then went to the doctor at about 8 weeks for a routine appointment and she said to us, “the baby is measuring a little smaller than it should but it may be my ultrasound machine” (it was a bit outdated). She instructed me to wait about 10 days and then go for another ultrasound at the hospital where I work. So I scheduled the ultrasound for Friday, July 5th. I insisted there was no need for my husband to come as it was just another routine ultrasound and I would just pop in during work hours. Plus, it was July 4th weekend and we were leaving work early to spend the weekend upstate.
I had a little bleeding that morning but didn’t think anything of it (sometimes, bleeding can be normal in early pregnancy). Before the ultrasound, I politely asked the technician, “My husband couldn’t come and I feel really bad. I know it’s against hospital policy to give out ultrasound pictures but can I please just take a picture of the screen to send to him?” I flashed my ID badge (you’ve got to take advantage of the perks) and she said, “Sure, just don’t tell anyone”. A few minutes later, (well, it was really probably just a few seconds that felt like forever) she became extremely quiet, taking her time, focusing, and not showing me the screen. Hmmm….I started to wonder. Could it be? No, it’s not possible. But as time went on, I just knew something was wrong. She finished the ultrasound and I didn’t even remind her about the picture because I didn’t want to put her in that position. I asked to see to the on-call Radiologist to read the report because I didn’t want to wait for them to fax the report to my doctor. I needed to hear now. It turns out, he was on lunch. So I waited. I googled (NEVER do). And then, I started getting nervous. When the doctor returned, the technician called me and walked me right to his office. This really lovely, kind man sat me down and said the words no one should ever hear “I’m so sorry, but you’ve miscarried”. At this point, I kind of already wrapped my head around that possibility so it wasn’t a shock. It was just really, really sad. Oh, and I was alone because I never saw this coming. He said that my baby was supposed to be 9 weeks along but was only measuring 6 weeks and there was no heartbeat. I thanked him, left, and called my doctor on her cell to fill her in and ask questions. (As hinted to earlier, I tend to intellectualize everything as way of a coping). My doctor told me not go upstate for the weekend because I may experience severe cramping or bleeding. So I told my boss that I had an emergency and I left work. At this time, thank G-d, Justin worked 10 minutes from me (remember silver linings?). I jumped in the car and drove over to him because I couldn’t stand to tell him over the phone. Afterwards, we went home, called the people we needed to tell, and settled in, unsure of what to expect. Saturday night, my doctor called me to see how I was feeling. “I want a D&C” I told her (a surgical procedure where they dilate the cervix and remove the contents of the uterus). I know there are risks associated with the procedure but I needed closure. I just didn’t want to wait to miscarry naturally as the symptoms could just happen at any time, anywhere. The Dr. told me to meet her in the hospital on Sunday morning. I let Justin go play softball first (priorities, right?), I showered, and off we were. We had another ultrasound to confirm and then I was sedated. The procedure itself was pretty simple and we went home a few hours later. I had very little discomfort following it but took off the next day to recuperate. About a week later, I miscarried the remaining tissue.
I think the hardest part of all this was my expectations. So few people share their stories that we, or I, never even consider the possibility of miscarriage. I wasn’t guarded. I wasn’t concerned. The doctor was warning me and I didn’t even catch on to the clues. I was so naïve because nothing and no one ever cautioned me not to be. And then, I thought we’d get pregnant easily again and that would be it. But that is so not what G-d had in mind. And that reality hasn’t always been easy to accept. You see, much of life’s highs and lows are a result of our expectations or what we think we deserve. We may expect life to be easy, or to be perfect, or to have what others have. And many times, these expectations can lead to disappointment. And while it’s important to be positive, sometimes life just doesn’t go as planned and it’s okay to be frustrated with that. Sometimes, I just want to quit, adopt a dog and travel the world with all the money we’ll save not raising a child.
In life, we all experience some crummy days, regardless of what your challenge may be. Hopefully you won’t experience many but there will be some. And it’s okay. Accept that today may be one of those days – a day in which I don’t want to make lemonade out of lemons but rather, pick up a lime and have a tequila shot (okay, I’m not advocating for using alcohol to help you cope). But give yourself permission to be sad or disappointed, or angry or overwhelmed. But tomorrow, tomorrow is a new day. Make it a day filled with hope, rather than expectations. It can be better. It will be better. Just keep pushing yourself and pushing through. One day at a time.
Social work note (Correction: “Clinical Social Work Note” now that I passed my LCSW exam last week!!): If you find that you’re having a hard time coping, or your bad days outweigh your good ones, it may be beneficial to look into professional counseling.
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